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Since 1986, the West Virginia Legislature has “capped” the amount of damages a person may receive for pain and suffering. Initially, the cap was $1 million. In 2003, the Legislature reduced the non-economic caps to $500,000 for those victims who suffer wrongful death, permanent and substantial physical deformity as well as a loss/use of a limb or body organ, or a permanent injury that prevents the plaintiff from being able to care for themselves and perform life-sustaining activities.
In all cases not involving wrongful death, permanent and substantial physical deformity as well as a loss/use of a limb or body organ, or a permanent injury that prevents the plaintiff from being able to care for themselves and perform life-sustaining activities, the cap on non-economic damages is $250,000.
These caps are adjusted annually for inflation. While there is a cap on non-economic damages, West Virginia does not place a cap on economic damages (past and future medical expenses, past lost wages, future lost wages, etc.).
A second cap applies to certain victims who receive negligent treatment at a designated trauma center. This “trauma cap” is $500,000. However, effective July 1, 2016, even if the trauma cap applies, a victim may be able to receive an additional $1 million in compensation for economic loss exceeding the trauma cap. There are also exceptions to the trauma cap if the healthcare provider fails to follow certain written guidelines or if he or she acts in reckless disregard of the patient’s safety.
Medical negligence is one of the most difficult types of cases to prove. In addition, even if you prove your case, certain caps may apply. Trust a lawyer who has handled hundreds of medical negligence cases. Our lawyers have been ranked by their peers as some of the “Best Lawyers in America” in medical negligence and personal injury cases. If you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact an attorney at Preston & Salango for a free evaluation.